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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

62         HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

instruction of some kind was given to the children at that date.
But whether, as one or two passages in Livy suggest, the ludi
(elementary schools) which werž fairly widespread in the following
century were then in existence is doubtful: it is not improbable
that even so early the Greek example had suggested the institution
of private schools for reading and writing, like that of the " gram-
matistes." In any case, the greater part of education, probably
in most instances the whole of it, was given in the home: the
ludus, as the name indicates, was a comparatively unimportant
supplement, a mere " diversion/' It was in the home that the
children got their training in right conduct (virtus) and the sense
of social obligation (pietas). Their teachers were the father and
the mother, the mother being primarily responsible for the
educatio, the general upbringing, the father for the doctrina, the
intellectual education. (The mother's part is noteworthy as
indicating the attention paid to the education of girls. Cicero's
reference to the Gracchi as non tarn in gremio educates quam
serrnone matris throws light on the culture of some at least of the
women.)

The quality of this home education would obviously depend on
the education which the parents had themselves received. The
general character of the education given in the best homes may
be inferred from the practice of Cato the Elder at a somewhat later
date. "As soon as the dawn of understanding appeared/* Plu-
tarch tells us, " Cato took upon himself the office of teacher to his
son, though he had a slave named Chilo who was a good * gram-
matistes' and taught several other children. But he tells us that
he did not choose that his son should be reprimanded by a slave,
or pulled by the ears if he happened to be slow in learning, or that
he should be indebted to so mean a person for his education. He
himself, therefore, instructed the boy in his letters, taught him
the law, and looked after his physical training. For he taught him
not only how to throw a dart and fight hand to hand, but to ride,
to box, to endure heat and cold, and to swim the most rapid rivers.
He further informs us that he wrote histories for the boy with his
own hand in large characters, so that without stirring out of his
father's house he might gain a knowledge of the great actions of
the ancient Romans and of the customs of his country. He was as
careful not to utter an improper word before his son as he would
have been in the presence of the vestal virgins. In this way Cato